"Education is: 'Congratulations, You're done. Here's your diploma and plaque. Good luck.' We don't succeed unless our students get employed," contends SeedPaths
CEO Jeff Macco.
SeedPaths is an innovative career-track boot camp designed for young, disadvantaged adults to train them for the IT and software industries. As an added bonus, students that complete the two month bootcamp receive a $1,000 bonus.
"The students we're working with now have a unique demographic, a unique background," Macco says. Most are between 18 and 21 years old, they're low-income and face barriers to employment. Coming from foster programs, being skill-deficient, high-school dropouts, prior offenders, and other factors are of the employment barriers SeedPaths students face, he explains.
The startup launched in Denver last year and is now conducting the pilot of its 320-hour boot camp. Its second bootcamp will launch April 7. "Our goal most optimistically for our next class is 30 students," Macco says. "But our floor goal is at least 20."
The SeedPaths training program attacks training from multiple angles, focusing on both professional development and software skills. Macco says the skill sets the training tries to impart include professionalism, high energy, confidence, self-management and intellectual curiosity.
The program has a goal of 85 percent employment rates for its graduates, according to Macco. Those goals were defined by the Arapahoe Douglas County Workforce Development Center, which is SeedPath's funding partner, allowing access Workforce Investment Act funds to pay for all or part of the program’s $6,000 cost for disadvantaged adults.
"Our goal long-term is as we continue to scale is to work with more workforce centers because the funds are not geographically restricted," Macco says. "So if Arapahoe and Douglas County use up their budget, then we can send them to Jefferson County, or Broomfield, or Denver, or Adams." He explains that even longer term the company could expand the program beyond Colorado.
"We're really committed and focussed on employment,” he adds, observing that the average yearly salary -- of the students had any salary last year -- was about $2,600.
The class is intended to prepare the students for entry-level positions in the IT industry. "Our goal is at least $16 an hour. But an unpaid internship might work great, depending on the circumstances," Macco says.
The boot camp includes a mini-job fair. "We'll be bringing in employers and community leaders, and potentially even educational institutes," says Macco. SeedPaths and the students will present the program, field questions and talk with the experts. "Potentially even better would be job offers given on the spot, which would be really cool," he says.
Contact Confluence Denver Innovation & Jobs News Editor Chris Meehan with tips and leads for future stories at firstname.lastname@example.org.